No party menu is complete without this chicken nachos recipe. However, suppose you want to take this dish to the next level. In that case, you can pair it with dozens of other delectable Mexican recipes, such as my creamy Basic Guacamole Recipe or my sweet-and-spicy Easy Street Corn.

Or, if you’re in the mood for another savory and succulent meat dish, my Slow Roasted Chicken Wings strike the perfect balance between crispy, flavorful skin and tender meat. No matter what you choose, you can easily spice up the day with a pitcher of my Easy Pineapple Margarita Recipe.

Pulled chicken nachos garnished with corn, avocados, and tomatoes on a sheet pan.

Chicken Nachos Ingredients

There’s no need to empty out your wallet to make this easy shredded chicken nachos recipe. You only need a handful of pantry-ready ingredients to make this authentically delectable, restaurant-quality dish.

Ingredients for the recipe from the top view.
  • Chicken: Nearly any shredded chicken would work when making pulled chicken for nachos, whether you want to use boneless chicken thighs or boneless chicken breasts. In terms of preparation, I roasted my chicken in the oven with a coating of spices, then shredded them while warm to achieve the most attuned seasoning profile. However, if you prefer a more hands-free method, you can also make nachos with rotisserie chicken or cook your chicken in a crock pot.
    You can even use leftover chicken if you have some on hand or make a grilled chicken nachos recipe for a smokier, summer-fresh flavor. Regardless of your cooking process, just be sure you have 4-5 cups of shredded chicken before assembling your nachos. That being said, however, you can also substitute this recipe’s chicken for sauteed ground beef if you’d prefer a savorier, more pronounced meat flavor.
  • Oil: Though I use olive oil to cook chicken for nachos, any other flavorless vegetable oil, such as avocado oil, would work.
  • Seasoning: I’ve found that the best seasoning for chicken nachos is a basic, smoky, and piquant mix of chili powder, ground cumin, salt, and pepper. Alternatively, you can use your favorite pre-made taco seasoning if you’re in the mood for a quicker seasoning solution.
  • Enchilada sauce: Though an optional addition, I love adding enchilada sauce to my shredded chicken nachos, as it adds a savory, light richness to the mixture. You can use any store-bought brand you prefer (my favorite is Siete Red Enchilada Sauce -affiliate link) or make your enchilada sauce from scratch.
  • Tortilla chips: When selecting a chip for this chicken nacho bake, I highly recommend picking thick, sturdy, restaurant-style tortilla chips. This chip style better withstands baking and won’t get as soggy as other varieties. Furthermore, if you have the time, you can also make homemade tortilla chips for a fresher, more customizable taste. However, I don’t recommend making chicken nachos with Doritos and any other commercially seasoned chips, as they are relatively flimsy and won’t withstand the moisture of the wetter ingredients.
  • Cheese: To ensure an even distribution of cheese throughout your nachos, you must use shredded cheese. I use Monterey Jack cheese due to its buttery flavor and highly meltable composition. However, you can use Pepper Jack cheese, mozzarella, or Colby Jack, as well, to achieve a spicier, creamier, or tangier flavor profile. Or, you can even use a blend of cheeses for a more full-bodied taste, with some of my favorites being a Mexican blend cheese and Cheddar Jack (a mix of cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack).
  • Black beans: Black beans are a great way to add a tender, mildly sweetheartiness to chicken and cheese nachos. Don’t have any black beans in the pantry? You can use pinto beans instead, giving your nachos a creamier, earthier taste.

What to Put on Chicken Nachos?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings and customizing this loaded chicken nachos recipe. However, these classic toppings—zesty, creamy, and bright—are my favorite ingredients to give this dish an authentic Mexican taste.

Topping ideas for homemade nachos with chicken from the top view.
  • Salsa with Cherry Tomatoes: This easy salsa recipe is my go-to when making easy chicken nachos. Not only does this sauce boast robustly bright flavors, but it also comes together in just ten minutes! No time to make salsa? Sliced or diced tomatoes would also work.
  • Guacamole: Creamy, garlicky, and tangy, guacamole is a no-brainer when it comes to nachos. One taste of this simple side and the entire bowl will disappear in seconds.
  • Jalapenos: If you’re a fan of heat, jalapenos are just what you need to lend a kick of spice to your chicken cheese nachos. If you prefer a crisper, fresher, and more colorful topping, I recommend using fresh jalapeños. However, if you’re in the mood for a softer texture and a more tart flavor, pickled jalapenos are the way to go.
  • Sour cream: Sour cream—smooth, light, and tangy—makes an excellent addition to the savory, meatier base of this Mexican chicken nachos recipe. Serve this ingredient as a dippable side or a dollop on top, and your guests will be licking their fingers clean.
  • Corn: This mildly sweet and tender addition adds a beautiful pop of color to these sheet pan nachos.
  • Olives: If you’ve ever found yourself reaching for the table salt to add extra flavor to your meal, this ingredient is for you. Black olives are briny, salty, and brilliant at giving these chicken nachos a savory depth. 
  • Squeeze of lime juice: My favorite way to balance the hearty composition of pulled chicken nachos is to add a little bit of lime juice to the mixture. This addition adds a bright, acidic element to the recipe, ensuring every ingredient comes to life.
  • Mexican Pickled Red Onions: Tangy, citrusy, and oh-so-flavorful, pickled onions are a great way to enliven your nachos with equal tenderness and crunch.

How to Make Chicken Nachos with Shredded Chicken?

There’s a reason why this easy nachos recipe is such a classic. My step-by-step instructions take the stress out of menu planning, requiring minimal effort and zero hassle. If you are using leftover or rotisserie chicken, you can skip the first six steps and start assembling your nachos.

  1. Prep the oven: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
A collage of images showing how to prepare and cook chicken to make nachos.
  1. Dry the chicken: Use paper towels to pat dry the chicken, then transfer them onto a baking sheet. I use a 13 x 18-inch baking sheet (also known as a half-sheet pan) to fit all my poultry comfortably.
  2. Season the chicken: Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with chili powder, ground cumin, salt, and pepper.
  3. Bake: Add the seasoned chicken to the oven and let it roast for 15-20 minutes or until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  4. Shred: Remove the cooked chicken from the oven, then shred it using two forks.
Images showing how to assemble shredded chicken, tortilla chips and cheese to make nachos.
  1. Add enchilada sauce (optional step): Drizzle the shredded chicken with the enchilada sauce, and broil the mixture for two minutes. When done, remove the chicken from the oven and set it aside.
  2. Prepare the baking sheet: Turn down the oven’s temperature to 350 degrees F., and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Assemble the first layer: Spread your first layer of tortilla chips on the lined pan. Top them off with half of the shredded cheese, black beans, and shredded chicken.
  4. Build the second layer: Place a second layer of chips on top of the first, followed by the remaining black beans and shredded chicken.
  5. Bake: Put the chicken nachos in the oven and bake them for 15-18 minutes or until the cheese melts thoroughly.
Chicken cheese nachos topped of with nacho toppings from the top view.
  1. Add the toppings: Top off your baked nachos with your preferred toppings and serve while still hot.

How to Make Ahead, Store, and Reheat? 

It’s no secret that homemade chicken nachos—crunchy, flavorful, and melty—taste best on the day you make them. Therefore, I recommend assembling the dish right before serving to achieve maximum crispiness.

Need more time for day-of preparation? Not to worry: These expert make-ahead and storage tips will ensure you can cut your prep time in half and don’t have to forfeit a single bite of this chicken nacho recipe.

  • Make ahead: The best way to kickstart your meal prep is by making the shredded chicken for nachos ahead of time and cooking and shredding it in advance. That way, you only need to assemble and bake the nachos just before you want to serve it. Also, you can plan out and prepare your toppings ahead of time to simplify serving the day of.
  • Storage: To store your pulled chicken nachos, first let them come to room temperature. Then, either transfer them to an airtight container or tightly cover them with stretch film. You can then put them in the fridge until ready to reheat.
  • Reheat: I recommend reheating these chicken nachos in the oven under low heat—about 300 degrees F.—or until the cheese melts and the remaining ingredients heat through. I also suggest removing any fresh toppings from the dish before heating, as they won’t withstand the higher temperatures of the oven, thereby losing their freshness. Then, you can re-add them to the nachos when ready to serve.

What Tastes Good with Chicken Nachos? 

Versatile, snackable, and utterly irresistible, chicken black bean nachos are one of the best dishes to make if you love putting your unique spin on new recipes. Below, I’ve assembled essential recipes to serve with your savory bake, transforming this simple dish into a five-star menu.

  • Dips and salsas: One of the most iconic pairings, salsa exquisitely balances the heartier base of roast chicken nachos with light, bright, and tomatoey flavors. Pico de gallo is an effortless go-to for this dish, though you can also add notes of tropical, juicy flavors by making my Pineapple Mango Salsa or Peach Salsa. Or, you can whip up an easy Hummus Dip for an even creamier, umami-rich condiment.
  • Tacos: When you think of Mexican cuisine, chances are you immediately think of tacos—a savory, fresh, and flavor-filled dish anyone can customize to their liking. With my recipe for Brisket Tacos, you can fill your plate with smoky, melt-in-your-mouth flavors. Or, try pairing your nachos with Quinoa Black Bean Tacos for a vegan-friendly dish that has all the zesty, creamy taste you could want from your favorite Mexican food.
  • Salads: Want to add a lighter, more nutritious edge to your nachos? Serve them alongside a bowl of Black Bean and Corn Salad for a zesty, veggie-packed side, or spoon out a serving of Mexican Street Corn Salad (AKA “esquites”) for a dish that’s equal parts spicy, tangy, and creamy.
  • Margaritas: What party menu is complete without a sweet, boozy treat? My Easy Pineapple Margarita and Blueberry Margaritas are just what you need to give this classic drink a sweet, fruity spin. You can even blend up a Strawberry Basil Margarita to balance your juicier notes with a gourmet, herby finish.
Person with a chunk of pioneer woman nachos in her hand.

Expert Tips

Authentic Mexican chicken nachos are at your fingertips when learning from these pro-level tips. Below, you’ll find everything you need to make crisp, gooey, and savory nachos, from proper layering to serving suggestions.

  • Layer evenly: When making sheet pan chicken nachos, it’s vital that you evenly distribute the cheese across the chips to prevent uneven and/or soggy nachos. If you plan on making more than two layers, I recommend keeping the middle layer to a minimum (except for the cheese, of course!). I also suggest draining your black beans and chicken before adding them to your nachos to keep them from becoming soggy.
  • Don’t skimp on shredded cheese: The secret to making restaurant-style nachos is to be generous when it comes to the cheese. Though four cups of cheese may sound like a lot, it’s the key to giving each chip a balance of crisp, gooey, and rich flavors so you don’t end up with bland or topping-less bites in your final dish.
  • Make it your own: The beauty of making homemade nachos with chicken is that you can customize it any way you like. Use this easy recipe as a starting place, and then feel free to mix and match the dish with what you have on hand. Remember, too, that this recipe is pretty forgiving, so it’s up to you what you want to add to your mixture.
  • Drain properly: I think it’s safe to say that no one enjoys soggy nachos. Therefore, the best way to prevent sogginess is to thoroughly drain each of your ingredients (besides the cheese and chips) before layering them into your recipe. In particular, I recommend draining the shredded chicken, beans, and wet toppings before making this simple chicken nachos recipe.
  • Add the toppings right before serving: For best results, I recommend adding your fresher toppings to your dish right before serving. Otherwise, these additions (like guacamole or pico de gallo) may lose their texture and flavor, resulting in a wet, flavorless layer.
  • Serve right away: Gooey, succulent, and flavorful, baked chicken nachos taste stellar when they’re warm. That’s why I always suggest serving this dish immediately when the cheese is still melty, and the ingredients are hot.


You don’t have to be a professional Mexican chef to make chicken nachos in the oven. I answer all your remaining questions in this easy guide, ensuring your dish comes out exquisitely layered and delightfully crisp.

How do you layer nachos so they don’t get soggy?

The best chicken nachos recipe is one that doesn’t turn soggy after adding your favorite toppings. To ensure your nachos remain as dry and crisp as possible, fully drain all the ingredients—besides the cheese and the chips—before adding them to your recipe. You may also consider keeping any wet ingredients to a minimum to reduce their chances of releasing excess liquid. Finally, using a sturdy chip—such as a restaurant-style tortilla chip—is the key to reducing sogginess, as they tend to be thicker and less absorbent than other varieties.

What order do you layer nachos in?

In general, I recommend beginning each layer of your nachos with chips, topped with cheese, and other heat-friendly toppings (such as black beans). Then, each layer should have the same combination of chips, cheese, and beans. After removing your nachos from the oven, you may then add your fresh toppings—such as guacamole and tomatoes—to ensure they maintain their flavor and texture. Despite these instructions, however, remember that this dish is highly forgiving, so don’t worry if you miss an ingredient in a layer or want to play around with your ingredients.

Other Game Day Recipes You Might Also Like

Once you learn how to make shredded chicken nachos, you’ll be itching for more tasty dishes to serve at your next game-day party. These lip-smacking recipes will ensure everyone gets their fill with a perfectly savory, seasoned, and snackable taste.

If you try this Shredded Chicken Nachos recipe or any other recipe on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It is a great help to others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.

Healthy Game Day Recipe Idea – Shredded Chicken Nachos

5 from 7 votes
Yields8 servings
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Here is a reader-favorite football food recipe idea: Tortilla chips layered with cheese, black beans, tomatoes, avocado, and other veggies for a drool worthy Shredded Chicken Nachos perfect for any party. Take it out of the oven, serve warm, and accept the compliments.


For The Chicken

  • 1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup enchilada sauce

For The Nachos

  • 8 cups tortilla chips
  • 4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, or mozzarella
  • 1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

As Toppings (optional)

  • 1 cup guacamole
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced or sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or canned corn, drained if using canned
  • 1/4 cup jalapenos, fresh/sliced or pickled


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Pat dry chicken with paper towels. Transfer them onto a baking sheet (I used a half-sheet—AKA a 13 x 18-inch baking sheet.).
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chili powder, ground cumin, salt, and pepper on both sides.
  • Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove from the oven. Shred the now-cooked chicken using two forks.
  • Drizzle them with the enchilada sauce and broil for 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and set it aside.*
  • Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Spread tortilla chips on a sheet pan in a single layer. Top them off with half of the cheese, black beans, and shredded chicken ensuring that they are distributed evenly.
  • Continue with a second layer of chips, cheese, beans, and shredded chicken.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.
  • Right before serving, top it off with your favorite nacho toppings and serve while still hot.



  • Yields: This recipe yields nachos that is ideal for 8 servings when served as an appetizer. The below calorie information is per serving and does not include any of the optional toppings.
  • Chicken: While we roasted the chicken to make nachos, this recipe would also work with any cooked leftover chicken or store-bought rotisserie chicken. All you have to do is to shred it before assembling. You’ll need about 4-5 cups of shredded chicken to make this easy chicken nachos recipe. Additionally, if you are cooking your own chicken, you can use skinless chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs as well.
  • Enchilada Sauce: Broiling chicken with enchilada sauce is an optional step and can be skipped if you want to make it faster or you do not have enchilada sauce on hand. 
  • Drain: To prevent your nachos from becoming soggy, be sure to drain black beans very well before layering with chips and cheese.
  • Make Ahead: This recipe tastes best on the day that it is made. However, you can make the chicken ahead of time and have it ready for assembly. Once you have the chicken cooked, all you need to do is to layer it as written in the recipe.
  • Storage: Before refrigerating your nachos, be sure to bring them to room temperature. Then, either transfer them to an airtight container or tightly cover them with stretch film or aluminum foil and store them in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • Reheat: We recommend reheating these chicken nachos in the oven under low heat—about 300 degrees F.—or until the cheese melts and the remaining ingredients heat through. Be sure to remove any fresh toppings from the dish before heating, as they won’t withstand the higher temperatures of the oven, thereby losing their freshness.


Calories: 998kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 60g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 1213mg | Potassium: 608mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1128IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 560mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Tried this recipe?Mention @foolproofliving or tag #foolproofeats!

About Aysegul Sanford

Hello Friend! I'm Aysegul but you can call me “Ice." I’m the cook/recipe-tester/photographer behind this site.

If you’re looking for approachable, yet creative recipes made with everyday ingredients, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’re all about recipes that’s been meticulously tested to provide you with a truly foolproof cooking experience regardless of your level of cooking.

The cover of Foolproof Protein packed ebook.

Claim Your Free E-Book

Foolproof Protein-Packed
Sign up to get our free Protein-Packed Meals E-book with recipes you can make in under 45 minutes. Plus, get weekly updates and goodies from us.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
5 from 7 votes

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    These nachos are perfect for the playoffs! And I’d hope for some leftovers as they’re my kind of lunch, too!!